The Center for New Deal Studies engages a wider community through lectures, programs and collaboration with community partners. For instance, it organizes the annual Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Distinguished Lecture, co-sponsors numerous on- and off-campus educational programs, and supports the Chicago Metro History Fair with online content for students interested in topics relating to the Roosevelt era as well as an annual prize for the best projects in New Deal, social justice or human rights history. The Center also connects to the curriculum, with courses on the Roosevelts, Great Depression and World War II. It offers scholarships to students wishing to participate in a special study abroad course on World War II.
The Center holdings include some 1,500 artifacts, including busts, clocks, china, campaign textiles, political buttons, toys and dolls, among many other items; papers and oral histories associated with the New Deal; Roosevelt-related ephemera and a book collection of about 2,000 volumes. Within its library, the Center is honored to have the David MacLaren Memorial Book Collection.